Cheltenham: Jockey Lizzie Kelly rides double on Coo Star Sivola and Agrapart

Jockey Lizzie Kelly
In 2015, Lizzie Kelly became the first female jockey to win a Grade One jumps race in Britain

Jockey Lizzie Kelly completed a Cheltenham double on New Year's Day as Agrapart won the Relkeel Hurdle.

Kelly went past favourite L'Ami Serge in the final strides, having earlier won the opener on Coo Star Sivola.

Willy Twiston-Davies joined an elite list of jockeys to have ridden a winner at Royal Ascot and Cheltenham when scoring with handicap hurdler Cogry.

Meanwhile, 50-1 shot Tour Des Champs gave trainer Samuel Drinkwater a winner with his first runner at the track.

Whisper beat Clan Des Obeaux to land the Dipper Novices' Chase.

Lizzie Kelly, nearest, on Agrapart, jumps the last alongside L'Ami Serge
Kelly, nearest on Agrapart, jumps the last alongside L'Ami Serge

Kelly - riding for her stepfather, trainer Nick Williams - has called for female riders to be given more opportunities.

She had previously described her season as "pants" with only three winners before these two victories at Cheltenham

"It's been a tough season and I'm just glad we've come here today and the hard work of everyone has paid off," she said after 16-1 shot Agrapart defeated L'ami Serge, ridden by Daryl Jacob, to seal a 92.5-1 double.

Five professional female jump jockeys enjoyed wins around the country on New Year's Day- Kelly joined by Lucy Alexander, Lucy Gardner, Megan Carberry and Bridget Andrews.

Twiston-Davies teamed up with his trainer father Nigel for his first win over the jumps at Cheltenham, six months after partnering Primitivo to victory at Flat racing's blue riband Ascot meeting.

"It's really really special," said the 6ft tall jockey, who grew up 12 miles from the course.

Tour Des Champs was the second winner of a fledgling career for ex-amateur jockey Drinkwater, who has a stable of nine horses.

"I've been training about a month and that's my sixth runner. The old heart skipped a few beats and I thought I was dreaming it," he said.

Former top hurdler Whisper, ridden by Davy Russell for trainer Nicky Henderson, could be aimed at the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

"He jumped great, he knows what he is doing," Russell told ITV after the first race broadcast by the channel in more than 30 years.


Cornelius Lysaght, BBC racing correspondent

New Year's Day, and inevitably thoughts turn to what can be better in the months ahead.

For racing, it's the constant battle to gain the level of appreciation to the wider sporting psyche it feels it deserves. With horses like Thistlecrack and likeable, articulate characters like Lizzie Kelly, it'll feel it has a decent chance in 2017.

However, Kelly is nowhere near just a woman making an impression in a male-dominated world: both these wins showcased her riding talents. The first very well-judged, the second a demonstration of genuine strength in the saddle.